Friday, April 18, 2014

Spotlight-The Art passionista: Rebecca Taylor

Miss Rebecca Taylor looking fly and enjoying a Parisian Spring before heading to London (at  le saut du loup)

I met Rebecca Taylor while working at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Although we worked in different departments, (I for the Museum and she for the Trust) we still had the opportunity to work together before exhibition openings. Even then she was full of energy and I wondered if she ever slept as she had so many projects outside of work! After leaving the J. Paul Getty, Rebecca moved to the big apple to become the communications director of MoMA PS1 (all well before the age of 30). There she worked closely with seasoned big wigs in the field such as the director of MoMA PS1, Klaus Biesenbach. There she established herself as a social media queen (among other things) and The New York Times took notice and published an article on the art and social media scene in New York entitled, "Rendezvous With Art and Ardent" (of course noting her as one social media savvy sista!). Unfortunately the walls of the museum could not contain Miss Taylor and she moved into a new role becoming the Vice President at FITZ & CO (a strategic communications and marketing firm specializing in contemporary arts and culture based in NYC). She now oversees the media (jointly with Meg Blackburn) and social media teams, and leads key international accounts of some of the biggest names in the art world. AND when she isn’t traveling the world meeting with clients etc., she is a contributing arts writer at the Huffington Post and the Smarthistory at Khan Academy. Miss thang was in Paris for a few days so we were able to catch up for a drink (OK...more like two or three ;)! 

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KG:  What brought you to Paris this trip?

RT:  I was in another European city meeting with a big client. After my meetings were over I decided to take the train to Paris to meet potential clients, get in touch with media, see what exhibitions are on view, and of course to reconnect with good friends who live in Paris!

KG: What is the most significant difference working in a PR agency for the Arts as opposed to in a museum?

RT: For me the thing I love most about my job is that I get to help people. I get to go in and see what is not working for someone (a museum, a gallery, a company-all relating to art), I look and see what is broken and I help them figure out how to fix it. I help them share good news when they are doing amazing things and I help make sure the world knows about it.  Being able to do this is really a gift and I am able to work with brilliant people from all over the world. I think that is the added advantage I am finding working in this agency rather than a museum. While in the museum (I LOVED being inside a museum) I would be working on a very specific group of projects in a single brick and mortar location. Now I am working with museums in New York, Aspen and in the Hamptons. I am talking to museums in Paris and I am working with a foundation in Sharjah.  My whole world view has just exploded and it’s so much more international now. I get to work with all of these different cultures on a daily basis and talk to six different time zones in one day. The education and experience that goes along with that is just unparalleled.

KG:  When you come to Paris, what are your “must do's or must see's"?

RT:  For me Palais de Tokyo is a must. It’s usually one of the top things that I do. The Pompidou of course is high on the priority list and I love Mac/Val which is on the outskirts of the city (Musée d'Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne). It takes about 45 minutes to get there via public transportation but they always have really REALLY interesting stuff there. At one point I saw an Elmgreen and Dragset installation that I still think about all the time. So whenever I have an extra spare minute in Paris, I always make sure to trek out to Mac/Val because it is always worth it.

I also love the Musée d'Orsay. I have a deep and abiding love for Manet and there is just no better place to go and bask in his brilliance and his brush strokes than at the Musée d'Orsay. So I will definitely find myself a few minutes to go visit Olympia and Le déjeuner sur l'herbe.

There are a couple of rooms at the Louvre that just slay me. In one room there is Ingres, Une Odalisque

Louve Museum Denon Wing (1st floor room 75) 

In the other is Delacroix's July 28: Liberty leading the peopleThe Death of Sardanapalus and my favorite, Géricault'sThe Raft of the Medusa. 

Louvre Museum Denon Wing (1st floor room 77) 

Louvre Museum Denon Wing (1st floor room 77) 

Louvre Museum Denon Wing (1st floor room 77) 
I can spend hours in these rooms just moving from painting to painting and back again because those works are (sigh) just so compelling. The narrative, the composition, the brush strokes, everything about them is just so beautiful- a history lesson also. They really tie together history and literature. That was actually the first reason why I fell in love with art because it was the one thing that really united all my passions (politics, history and literature). It was about understanding the historic but also being contemporary at the same time. All those paintings I mentioned are perfect examples of that (she chuckles) I know, I am such nerd! 

KG:  Well, as my dad always said, “Nerds shall inherit the earth!" 

*You can keep up with Rebecca (and all things art) on Twitter at "Rebecca TaylorNY"*


  1. So interesting! It's made me want to go straight to the Louvre and soak up all that politics and history! Great article!

  2. These paintings bring a whole new historic views to you.
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